jakub | April 14, 2023

James Bond casting director says young actors can’t play 007

James Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams has said young actors lack the “gravitas” and “mental capacity” to play 007.

In an interview with RadioTimes.com, McWilliams, who has been the franchises’ casting director since 1981, explained why young actors hadn’t worked out during auditions for 2006’s Casino Royale.

“When we started, it was a slightly different feel,” McWilliams told the outlet. “We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas, they didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.

“So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again.”

Daniel Craig was aged 37 when he was cast as James Bond for Casino Royale. His last performance as the character was in 2021’s No Time To Die.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is rumoured to be on the shortlist for James Bond. CREDIT: Jun Sato/WireImage

While younger actors might be out of the equation to take over from Craig, an older Bond doesn’t necessarily mean an established movie star.

“Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really. Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn’t [known] – nobody had heard of him,” McWilliams said about past Bonds.

“A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn’t done any huge commercial film at all, really – [2004 film] Layer Cake I suppose was the most popular, should we say, of the things he had done prior to Bond, but he wasn’t a hugely well known actor.”

Among the younger actors who auditioned for Casino Royale was Henry Cavill, who recently said that he “probably wasn’t ready” to take on the role.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page have been rumoured to be on the shortlist to play 007 following Craig’s departure.

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